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True or False: Paper bags

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(CNN) -- True of False: America's paper bag consumption uses 14 million trees a year.

The answer is: True

According to the Sierra Club and other environmental think-tanks, paper bags are just as harmful to the environment when you look at the overall impact behind their production and consumption - where the source material comes from, how energy-intensive they are to make; and how difficult they are to recycle or reuse.

One of the paper bag's more obvious impacts is deforestation. While America's consumption of plastic bags uses up 12 million barrels of oil a year, it's consumption of paper bags fells 14 million trees a year.

It has even been suggested that paper bags cause more global warming than plastic bags, simply because they take up more space so need extra transportation, using up energy.

Others have said the reverse, that because of the energy used in the production process, plastic bags still remain the greatest scourge on the environment of the two.

(Sources: Sierra Club, Reusablebags.com; The Times; Salon.com)

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